This page is a special issue on multicultural counseling in the new millennium. First, the cultural diversity of society is described, and the demographic changes expected in the coming years are emphasized. Further perspectives of the multicultural counseling movement are outlined. The discussion then moves on to culturally based counseling skills, including self-awareness, knowledge, organizational skills, and abilities. Counselors are encouraged to learn how to incorporate cultural counseling skills into their professional practice, future research, and professional development.

Academic circles in which counseling the culturally diverse and psychotherapy trainings are held need, for reasons of both competence and ethics, to dwell on issues such as prejudice, discrimination, intolerance and cultural encapsulation. They also need to think about how to help members of ethnic minorities adapt to a dominant culture and realize themselves personally in situations where the risk of breaking with the surrounding cultural system is expensive for everyone. peace. Therefore, empathy is necessary.

The purpose of this page is to study the place of empathy in intercultural counseling through a literature review, awakening in passing the remaining little space in curriculum content and research projects, with cultural parameters and empathy as an important variable in the meeting. But in order to avoid terminological uncertainty, from the very beginning we indicate the most commonly used terms revolving around culture and empathy.

Defining multicultural counseling competencies is not as easy as defining a culture. However, if we look at the scope of empathy over a century and especially over 15 years, we can only be amazed at the many points of view from which we approached this variable. The definitions of empathy are diverse, and in the history of psychology and psychoanalysis there were at least 200 of them.

Under the influence of Piaget’s work, the concept of perspective was associated with empathy. Therefore, for the development of formal thinking, we will need to pay more attention to the cognitive processes associated with empathy. However, according to Cantor and Kihlstrom, “one of the main tasks of an empathizer is to see the world as another sees it, first of all it requires understanding the principles of categorization, structuring memory and attribution, which characterize social cognition in everyday life.” In one of his latest works, Schafer defines an empathic process (which he calls “empathization”) in its cognitive aspects. These include: 1) the fact that the analyst is building a mental model of the analysand, acting as a frame or guideline; 2) that he is aware of his “signal affects” and fantasies that he shares with the analysand in response to his associations, and 3) that he is ready to use these answers in a reflective mode and see in this the key to the affective aspects and the value of the activity analyzed in the analysis .

Referring to this theory, the emphasis is on processes, not products. This position also makes it clear that the views on others – which essentially consist of an act of empathy – come from his own subjectivity. A sympathetic subject can represent another only with concepts that are compatible with those that he uses to build himself. Thus, sympathy lies in “building” another structure, which we were able to develop and confirm on ourselves.

Thus, in an intercultural community with cultural backgrounds, the solution to the problem of understanding the other also consists in maintaining a “similarity” with the approach to the “other”, because otherwise we just emphasized how we can at least slightly trust the validity of our designs on others? At this level, empathy is a kind of “mirror” revealing that there has been a temporary identification, the movement of oneself in relation to another and another in relation to oneself, and messages sent to confirm one’s empathic understanding can always be confirmed (or recognized invalid) to those who are the target. Thus, empathic understanding is a violation in the universe of stereotypes that are easy to build on others, especially when they are very culturally different.